Those were the days, my friend. In June 1967, The Beatles opened Apple Publishing in a one-room office on London’s Curzon Street, predating even the birth of Apple Records. Soon, the publishing concern moved to new quarters at 94 Baker Street, and later to 3 Savile Row. In that heady period when anything seemed possible, the Fab Four signed a multitude of talented young writers to Apple, many of them discovered by Terry Doran. Doran, a 27-year old Liverpool native who had previously owned an auto dealership with Brian Epstein, was selected as Apple Publishing’s Managing Director. The fruits of his labor have been revealed in an ongoing series courtesy of Cherry Red’s RPM label. The most recent volume in the Apple Publishing collection, 94 Baker Street Revisited, has recently been released, and brings together another 22 rare slices of the Apple.
RPM’s series began with 2003’s release of 94 Baker Street: The Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 1967-1968. That compilation was the first to present demos, singles and unreleased songs by artists signed by Apple Publishing (not necessarily by Apple Records) such as Focal Point, Grapefruit, Ways and Means, The Iveys (later to become Badfinger), Paintbox, and John Fitch and Associates. Paul McCartney famously discovered Paul Tennant and David Rhodes in Hyde Park, leading to their signing as Focal Point. The Beatles’ interest in the Apple-signed songwriters was variable, but a number of them had Fab connections. Subsequent volumes of RPM’s series have included An Apple a Day: More Pop-Psych Sounds from the Apple Era, Treacle Toffee World: Further Adventures Into the Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era, and Lovers from the Sky: Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 1968-1971.
Unlike Lovers from the Sky, which brought the Apple Publishing story up to 1971, 94 Baker Street Revisited does just that: it revisits the incredibly fertile 1967-1968 period. All but three of the twenty-two tracks here have never been issued before. Many Apple Publishing songs were written with the idea of being recorded by the artists themselves or groups “created” by Apple, such as Grapefruit. Still others, though, were intended to be pitched to the day’s reigning pop stars. So it’s not surprising that you might hear a song here that sounds like it should have been a hit for Cliff Richard or another that might have worked for the girl group (and supreme session singers) The Breakaways.
There’s plenty more after the jump!
The new compilation emphasizes the pop side of Apple Publishing rather than the more psychedelic one, but the varied songs have flourishes of R&B, folk and rock, as well. Doran and his talent scout, Mike Berry, signed an eclectic roster of groups and artists to Apple Publishing, and via some unusual means. In his detailed liner notes, Stefan Granados (author of the well-regarded study of the Apple empire, Those Were the Days: The Unauthorized History of The Beatles’ Apple Organization) dives into the backgrounds of such artists as George Alexander, Buddy Britten, Barry Alexander, Joker and Coconut Mushroom. George Alexander was lucky enough to have received the patronage of John Lennon, who liked his song “Lullaby” enough to arrange his signing to Apple; at Terry Doran’s urging, Alexander would form Grapefruit with former members of Tony Rivers and the Castaways. Coconut Mushroom, on the other hand, was discovered via a competition/talent search held in tandem with Grapefruit’s opening slot on a Bee Gees tour! (You’ll hear a bit of the early Bee Gees influence on Barry Alexander’s “Fairytale Princess,” to name just one such example. Other tracks bring to mind The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits and of course, The Beatles.) Paul McCartney himself devised one of the ads intended to bring new talent to Apple Publishing. That Macca-inspired advertisement brought singer/songwriter David Creech, a.k.a. Joker, to Apple.
By mid-1968, both Doran and Berry had left Apple Publishing, and the Baker Street office was replaced by one at the Apple organization’s Savile Row headquarters. 94 Baker Street Revisited recalls many of the best artists who were poised to benefit from an association with the biggest musicians on the planet. Simon Murphy has mastered all tracks for CD. Like the other volumes in RPM’s series, Revisited is not a project of Apple Corps, and the Fabs’ company has no association with the compilation other than holding the publishing copyrights for the songs. That said, Apple Records itself previously teamed with RPM for 2012’s stellar reissue of Lon and Derrek Von Eaton’s Brother.
You can hear the “poptastic” sounds of Apple Publishing for yourself by ordering 94 Baker Street Revisited at the link below! It’s available now.
Various Artists, 94 Baker Street Revisited: Poptastic Sounds from the Apple Era 1967-1968 (RPM Retro 920, 2013) (Amazon U.K.)
- You’ve Got a Hold on Someone – George Alexander
- Hold On – Joker
- It’s You – Buddy Britten
- This Little Man Mk. 1 – George Alexander
- Windy Love Affair – Robert and Miles Priestley
- It’s Better to Have Loved – Buddy Britten
- Any Day Now – Coconut Mushroom
- Fairytale Princess – Barry Alexander
- Jacqueline – Joker
- Fool from Upper Eden – George Alexander
- Run Run Run – Coconut Mushroom
- Something New Everyday – Timon
- Sailing – Joker
- Mirror – Coconut Mushroom
- Who Needs a King – Timon
- Kingfisher – Barry Alexander
- Festival of the Harvest Moon – Joker
- Like a Butterfly – Coconut Mushroom
- Rip Van Winkle – Joker
- How Does It Feel – The Perishers
- Without Her – Coconut Mushroom
- You Still Haven’t Told Me – Buddy Britten and Ronnie Droy
All tracks previously unreleased except Tracks 12, 15 & 20